Saying “I love to fish” is an understatement, rather like saying, “The sun will rise in the east tomorrow.” When talking to others about fishing, which is every chance I get when not fishing, I frequently get asked, “What’s your favorite place to fish?” The truthful, and somewhat smart ass answer is, “In the water.”
What matters to me is the act of fishing, not the location, not the species. If the water has fish, I’m good to go. That might explain why some of my friends with fish tanks and koi ponds get a tad nervous whenever I visit. I suppose I should be a little bit less obvious in my musings about wondering what they'd take.
I’ll admit to loving “trips.” Excursions to “great” destination fisheries where your focus is one thing only, fishing. If I could be on an excursion daily, I’d figure I’d died and gone to heaven. Being like most everyone else, I still have to work for a living. Consequently, much of my “fishing time” is spent on what I consider nonproductive activities. And even worse, time available to fish is limited to short time bites, at best a long weekend, at worst an hour or two at lunch or after work. As a result, much of my fishing is around the ‘hood.
Now if you’re confused about what I mean when I say the ‘hood, I’m speaking of the neighborhood. The reality is most of us live in urban/suburban settings, areas not renowned for their fishing. Funny thing is they should be. If you check the state records you’ll find that the majority of them come from waters that could arguably be defined as “urban.” Or at least they're definitely not rural.
I would guess that most of you have at least one fishery that’s within walking distance of your house and/or workplace. For discussion purposes I’ll define walking distance as a mile or so. Using Google maps, when I key in my address and then use the measuring device, there are two ponds under a mile and four more within a mile and a half. Yep, I have six fishable waters within a 30 minute walk from the house. Expand that out to a couple miles and there are several more. Use the bike and the list is extensive. And should I opt to drive, well you can add a few large reservoirs to the list.
My decision on where to fish, depends in large part on time available and a personal rule about travel. I like to fish at least twice the travel time. So if I only have a couple hours to fish, I don’t want to spend more than a third of that time getting there and back, preferably less. That makes fishing the ‘hood waters my best option.
Last night was case in point. After dinner I had a couple of hours before sunset and the better half was headed out to a meeting. So I grabbed my rod, a half dozen boxes of flies, which was overkill as I only used two flies, and drove five minutes to a ‘hood pond. Over the next couple hours I landed a couple largemouth bass around 10 inches and a few dozen crappie and gills to eight inches. Nothing spectacular, but I had the water to myself and on a 5 weight rod eight inch gills are a lot of fun.
Love fishing and wish you had more time to fish? Why not take a slightly different approach and maximize what time you have to fish by spending time fishing the ‘hood.
I know exactly what you mean David. I have a system, Every other day I fish from 6am to 9am before work, than the other day i fish from 4:30pm to 7:00pm after work in the local metro area, than on the weekends I will pick a Saturday to fish 3 or 4 different lakes, than on a Sunday I'll fish a river or a lake I know has some good fish for about 10-12 hours. I love it. Once I am able to purchase a boat that may change to one lake all day on the weekends.
Reminds me of a little slough I used to drive by every day, along with about a million other people. It was right beside a busy highway. One day, on a whim, I stopped and threw a few lures. This was small water and brush choked. I caught a big bass on just about every cast, real big ones. Of course a few hundred people saw me catching bass out of it. A week later I stopped, the ground was worn bare at the edge of the water and bait boxes and food wrappers everywhere. And no fish, not one bite. Place was fished out in a week. So if you have a good spot near you, try to be covert when you fish it - be a ninja fisherman.
I've got 4 classes of fishing trips--like the lakes are classed on FXR.
1. Lakes by our house that we skipper, just to keep the lake reports current and go for an hour or two. That would "in the hood" like you're talking about and the most frequent.
2. Trips to bigger venues we've fished before. That's when I do the invites and try to meet with as many FXR members as I can.
3. Exploratory trips to places I've never been to. A lot of mountain trips fall in this one and usually it's just my son and I so that I can figure out how to get there and the value of fishing there.
4. The one big trip of the year. Somewhere like Granby or Blue Mesa that involves lodging and boat rental and goes for several days.
Ha! your 8" gills were almost twice the size of the dozen I picked up last night... 3 miles from my house.
Still fun- great practice getting back to casting flies anyway!
Size of fish in the 'hood is highly variable. One pond I fish is mostly green sunfish, and a six incher is big most day, but the kids have fun with a fly and bubble. Keeping up on casting skills is another great reason for 'hood fishing. I enjoy figuring out how to reach various sections of water, casting between trees, roll casts, reach casts, side arm cast to get under limbs, avoiding pedestrians . . . Keeps one sharp for the adventures.